Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard

Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state's best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Democratic leaders push back on calls for Vanderbilt transgender clinic investigation

By: and - September 23, 2022

A day after Gov. Bill Lee and state Republican leaders called for an investigation into transgender care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Democratic leaders pushed back, saying that “hate” was being used “for political purposes.” “Parents should be able to make decisions in regard to their children’s health. That is something Republicans claim to fight […]

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron speaks to residents in a March address on COVID-19. (Photo:

Stockard on the Stump: MTSU recycles embattled state senator, county mayor

By: - September 23, 2022

Despite paying a $135,000 civil penalty for campaign finance violations, former state Senator and Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron landed a plum job this week with MTSU. Ketron, who lost both as a Democrat and Republican to Nancy Allen for the county mayor’s seat in the ’90s before winning a Senate seat, will be the […]

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican lawmakers plan to strip Vanderbilt Hospital of child transgender surgeries

By: and - September 21, 2022

Fueled by a Twitter report, Republican lawmakers are planning to pass legislation in 2023 to stop Vanderbilt University Medical Center from performing pediatric transgender surgeries. Meanwhile, Gov. Bill Lee requested an investigation, and Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti’s Office said he will use the “full scope” of his authority to make sure state law is being […]

U.S. Supreme Court building (Photo: U.S. Supreme Court website)

North Carolina uses “fraudulent” document in gerrymandering case before high court

By: - September 21, 2022

A group of legal experts says North Carolina is using a “fraudulent” document from 1818 to make its argument in a gerrymandering case set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. A Politico op-ed written by Ethan Herenstin, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law, and Brian […]

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (Photo: TBI)

Lawmakers promise to seek more TBI crime lab funding in wake of high-profile case

By: - September 20, 2022

State lawmakers are expected to pour more funds into a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab personnel after a Memphis murder shed light on the fact some rape kits are languishing for eight months to nearly a year unless they get “rush” status from local law enforcement. The Jackson crime lab, which handles Shelby County […]

Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

No Tax 4 Nash group reaches $1M settlement in class action lawsuit

By: - September 16, 2022

An anti-tax group that targeted Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Metro Council members for recall will pay more than $1 million as part of a legal settlement after it used pre-recorded robocalls to contact Nashville voters in July 2020. Metro Nashville School Board member Rachael Anne Elrod, attorney Andrew Kaufman and Sarah Martin filed the […]

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton backed addition of Centene Corp. to TennCare through a no-bid contract. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Democratic Caucus chair, House Speaker trade barbs in run-up to session

By: - September 16, 2022

The 113th General Assembly is four months away, and Democrats and Republicans are sparring already. Well,  a more realistic term would be street fighting. To put it lightly, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Vincent Dixie is calling House Speaker Cameron Sexton a racist, and Sexton is calling Dixie a liar. Dixie, who’s no stranger to doling […]

Tess Stovall, left, executive director of the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission, and Ashley Thomas, general counsel, at Thursday's public hearing in Rutherford County. (Photo: Justin Kanew/Tennessee Holler)

Sparks fly over Hillsdale-affiliated charter school appeal in Rutherford

By: - September 15, 2022

In a state public hearing dominated by supporters of Hillsdale-affiliated American Classical Academy Rutherford, opponents of the charter school say they were shut out of a chance to speak. By the time Elizabeth Vollbrecht tried to sign up to voice her views at Wednesday’s event run by the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission, the deadline […]

U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

States’ chief justices group argues against independent state legislatures “theory”

By: - September 14, 2022

Calling it “invalid,” a group of influential judges is coming down against a theory that could give state legislatures the authority to set election and redistricting laws without the oversight of state courts. The Conference of Chief Justices, a group made up of the nation’s highest judicial officers, filed a rare amicus brief recently in […]

Cade Cothren, former chief of staff to ex-House Speaker Glen Casada, leaving the federal courthouse in Nashville following his arraignment on conspiracy charges. (John Partipilo)

Cothren joins Casada in filing for delay in corruption trial

By: - September 13, 2022

Cade Cothren, former chief of staff to ex-House Speaker Rep. Glen Casada, has joined Casada in seeking a delay of his trial on federal bribery, theft and kickback charges. Cothren, who was fired in 2019 amid a racist and sexist texting scandal that engulfed Casada’s speakership, filed a request Monday in federal court asking for […]

A police car blocks entrance to the Hernando DeSoto Bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis after a substantial crack was found in it May 11. (Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

Speakers react to Memphis murders with prison panel

By: - September 9, 2022

Responding to five killings in Memphis this week, Tennessee’s House and Senate speakers appointed a legislative panel to study the release of prison inmates, work that could lead to construction of more prison space. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, who is also Senate speaker, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton this week created the Joint Ad Hoc […]

Screengrab of former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Gov. Bill Lee in a video for the "Yes on 1" campaign.

Stockard on the Stump: Governor declares he didn’t violate the Little Hatch Act

By: - September 9, 2022

In his push to embed Tennessee’s right to work law into the state Constitution, Gov. Bill Lee denies he and former Gov. Bill Haslam violated the Little Hatch Act with a video shot at the State Capitol. AFL-CIO President Billy Dycus says they clearly broke the law, but he’s not planning to request equal time […]